Ex-media CEO sentenced to prison in college admissions scam

BOSTON (AP) — The former chief executive of a media company who authorities say paid more than $500,000 to get her two children into elite universities as bogus athletic recruits was sentenced to six weeks’ imprisonment Thursday.

Elisabeth Kimmel, 57, of Las Vegas, was the 29th parent to be sentenced in the Operation Varsity Blues nationwide college admissions bribery scandal, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston.

She was also sentenced to two years of probation with the first year to be spent in home confinement, 500 hours of community service, and fined $250,000, prosecutors said.

Under a plea deal announced in August, Kimmel had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

Kimmel agreed with William “Rick” Singer — a college admissions consultant and ringleader of the plot — and others to pay $275,000 to get her daughter admitted to Georgetown University as a tennis recruit, even though she was not a competitive tennis player, prosecutors said.

Gordon Ernst, the former Georgetown tennis coach, allegedly allocated a tennis admission slot to Kimmel’s daughter, according to prosecutors. Ernst pleaded guilty to a variety of charges and is scheduled to be sentenced in March 2022.

Kimmel, the former head of Midwest Television Inc., also agreed with Singer and others to pay $250,000 to get her son admitted to the University of Southern California as a pole vault recruit, even though he was not a pole vaulter, prosecutors said.

Kimmel had previously pleaded not guilty and sought to have the charges dismissed. Singer previously pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the government’s investigation. He too is awaiting sentencing.

Dozens of famous and wealthy parents, as well as about a dozen college coaches and athletic administrators, have been charged in the conspiracy, which involved large bribes to get undeserving children into elite U.S. universities with rigged test scores or inflated athletic accomplishments.

The defendants included actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, as well as Loughlin’s fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli. All three have already pleaded guilty and served their sentences.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up